Wi-Fi in schools, fast food in hospitals, flu shots, respect the soil, meningitis B vaccine, apples, and FEMA bee study
Parents question safety of wireless radiation in schools
A recent WUSA-9 News Report features local parents expressing concerns for their children's health when it comes to radio frequency (wireless) radiation levels in schools. After the introduction of the new Oregon Education Bill informing parents of the potential health risks of Wi-Fi, they are calling for safer technology solutions. According to the Environmental Health Trust (EHT), students and staff exposed to microwave radiation can suffer from learning difficulties and overall health problems. Other countries, such as France, have already taken action by banning Wi-Fi in nursery schools and directing elementary schools to keep the Wi-Fi off unless needed.
Ban fast food in hospitals
MPs have said that, in the fight against obesity, the UK National Health Service (NHS) needs to lead by example and remove fast-food outlets such as McDonald’s and Burger King from hospitals. The committee agrees with Prof Theresa Marteau, a public health expert at Cambridge University, who believes that “hospitals are being negligent [if they] continue to serve foods high in sugar, fat and salt…” Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, backed the MPs’ call, as did the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the British Medical Association. Campaign group, Action on Sugar, said, “It is nothing short of obscene that the very institutions that are supposed to be setting an example of good health, our hospitals, have become a branding opportunity for the junk food industry. It is perhaps not surprising that 50% of the NHS 1.4 million employees are themselves overweight or obese. Banning the sale of junk food in hospitals is long overdue.”
Over 400 US foster parents object to forced flu shots
Following an announcement from the US Department of Social and Health Services in January, foster parents in Washington are giving up on caring for children younger than 2 because they are unhappy that everyone in the foster family must get a flu shot. This is required for the license to care for babies and toddlers but as a result, more than 400 foster parents have asked to change their licenses to only accept older children. Foster parents, Brian and Jamie Smith, said, “Research that [we] have done suggests that it’s just not as safe and effective as everybody is making it out to be.”
The end of the road for growing crops?
The Guardian has published an article by George Monbiot outlining the way we treat our soil and reminding us that, if we continue in this fashion, “the world on average has just 60 more years of growing crops.” He writes that the issue of our soil is considered “marginal” and “irrelevant”, and “unworthy of consideration”. He also writes that the techniques that were supposed to feed the world, instead threaten us with starvation, and that the soil standards set by the Government are wholly unmatched to the scale of the problem. This is the International Year of Soils, but you wouldn’t know it, there’s no longer even an appetite for studying the problem. Just one university, Aberdeen, offers a degree in soil science. Monbiot cannot stress enough that if we lose the soil, everything goes with it.
Welsh government confirms meningitis B vaccine for babies
Following a deal made by the UK government with the drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, a vaccine for meningitis B will be made available for all babies in Wales. The drug will now be added to the national childhood immunisation scheme and Welsh ministers plan to introduce it "as soon as practicable." Every child will receive the first vaccine at two months old, followed by a further two doses.
Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?
Research due for publication in JAMA Internal Medicine on April 1st, but pre-released online, has attempted to quash ancient wisdom that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. The researchers, led by Matthew A. Davis, DC, MPH, PhD, have concluded that the saying is unsupported by their evidence. However, they concede that “the small fraction of US adults who eat an apple a day [9%] do appear to use fewer prescription medications”. 8399 study participants who had completed dietary recall questionnaires from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2008 and 2009-2010), were selected. From these, data was obtained about the primary outcome measure — doctor visits, as well as secondary outcomes such as overnight hospital stays, visits to a mental health professional, or prescription medications. Don’t let his stop you eating apples though. There is plenty of evidence from other sources which shows that whilst they might just keep the pharmacist at bay, apples also have other benefits for healthy fat management, and are a good source of digestive fibre.
Reanalysis of FEMA bee study reveals dangers of neonicotinoids
Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex has reanalysed a 2013 Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) study on bees and neonicotinoids. Goulson reveals that, contrary to FERA’s own conclusions, the study “strongly suggests that wild bumblebee colonies in farmland can be expected to be adversely affected by exposure to neonicotinoids”. The original FERA study, entitled “Effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bumble bee colonies under field conditions” concluded (Goulsons words) “there was no clear relationship between colony performance and pesticide exposure, and the study was subsequently cited by the UK government in a policy paper in support of their vote against a proposed moratorium on some uses of neonicotinoids”. Goulson’s reanalysis has revealed that the conclusions of the FERA study do not match the results described therein, although they had conceded that there is a need for further studies. EFSA had pointed out weaknesses in the FERA study in June 2013. Of great concern, is that the lead researcher of the study is reported to have left to join Syngenta in September of the same year.